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No proof Afghan army infiltrator behind French troop deaths, says Nato

Reuters/ECPAS/Ghislain Mariette

Nato says it is too early to say if the Taliban were behind Friday’s killing of four French soldiers at a base in eastern Afghanistan.French Defense Minister Gérard Longuet, who was sent to Afghanistan by President Nicolas Sarkozy immediately after the incident, said he was told the killer was a Taliban infiltrator in the ranks of the Afghan army. 

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A spokesman for Nato's US-led International Security Assistance Force, Isaf, said on Tuesday that "there are no indicators of a systemic issue of infiltration into the Afghan National Security Forces.””

According to a classified coalition report published by theNew York Times last Friday, a rise in attacks by allied Afghan forces on US and Nato soldiers represents a "systemic" problem and is not rooted in isolated incidents.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

Meanwhile, French dailyLe Monde reports that French troops continue to work closely alongside Afghan troops in several large scale operation despite an announcement by President Sarkozy that all training operations by French forces were to be suspended following the killings,.

The paper says top military officers have drawn up a list of safety measures which they say need to be urgently put in place to protect soldiers from similar attacks.

  • Each joint military camp must have a protected zone which only French, not Afghan soliders, are allowed to enter.
  • Every French soldier involved in training Afghan troops must be accompanied by an armed guard.
  • Sport’s activities can only practised in a secure zone. The four French solders were killed during a sport’s session.
  • Soldiers must be armed at all times.

Le Monde says British soldier already follow these safety measures, while the United States has gone further in protecting its troops.

The US army systematically takes a retinal print of all soldiers and police officers in the camps in order to cross-check with any suspected infiltrator.

The paper quotes a French military source as saying arrogance on the part of some soldiers is preventing the security measure from being implemented: “French troops have to stop feeling superior to foreign troops and adopt the same security measures as them when working with Afghan troops.”

The return of French troops is expected in 2014 while US troops will leave Afghanistan by the spring.

 

 

 

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